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June 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

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Recognition For Years Of Service: Santana Santistevan


For our April issue, we are recognizing teacher Santana Santistevan for her years of service as a teacher.

How long have you been teaching? Tell us where you’ve taught?

I have been teaching for 24 years. I have five years at Taos Middle School and 19 years with Questa. Of the 19 years in Questa, I have five years at Alta Vista, where I taught second grade for two years, and fourth to sixth grade for three years. In 2010, I was transferred to the high school to take over as librarian when Mrs. Bucanan retired. Of the 14 years that I have been at the high school, I have been able to work with so many kids in a variety of classes. I currently teach Health, Driver’s Ed., Yearbook, and I monitor our UNM dual-credit students as well as our credit recovery program. I also am the sponsor for the National Jr./Sr. Honor Society and have sponsored several classes throughout the years

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Teaching is in my blood. My dad was a teacher and administrator for Taos most of his career. As a kid, I loved that he was on my same schedule and always was able to help me with my schoolwork and I wanted that for my own children.

What’s the most fulfilling and rewarding part of teaching?

Besides the fact that I truly enjoy coming to work every day, I enjoy working with kids. We really have some great students in our school, and I love getting to know them. I love that kids will always stop by to say hi throughout the day and many have come back to see me after they have graduated. Because I’m primarily an electives teacher and librarian, I get the opportunity to see the kids in a more relaxed setting.
We see you often work to support the students in their extracurricular activities.

Tell us more about this? Why do you think it’s important?

I find extracurricular activities vital, as it allows students to find something they are interested in. Once they find something they enjoy, it gives them the opportunities to develop a variety of skills outside of the classroom. Questa might be a small community, yet our schools offer so many different opportunities that as a parent, I find myself non-stop. I have three kids, all who are in multiple sports, mariachi and the honor society. My husband and I seem to be at an event at least every other day! As mentioned earlier, I am the sponsor for Honor Society, and part of their requirement for membership is service to their community. My students have been able to make new connections within their community as they work at the food pantry, get people to come in and donate blood, serve at the community dinner, or any of the many hours they put back into our village. My goal is to help them develop a sense of community and civic responsibility, as these kids will be our future leaders.

What is your message to other students who may want to become teachers?

If you’re passionate about a certain subject and enjoy working with children or young adults, teaching may be the perfect career for you. It’s a rewarding career that can make a real difference in the lives of your students. There is always a need for teachers. If you look at our current teachers, most of us will be retiring soon, so there’s no better time than now to start looking into it.

Anything else you want to add about your journey?

As teachers, parents, grandparents and community members, it’s up to us to instill the values of a good education in our youth and support them in all that they do. Education is the key to success, and it’s important to make sure our children have the tools they need to succeed. Questa Independent Schools is a good place to be. As an employee, we have the support of our administration and as a parent, I know my kids are getting everything they need to be successful.

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